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Tronc, the publisher of the Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times newspapers, announced on September 4 that it had purchased The New York Daily News. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Newspaper publisher Tronc has had a rocky few months. Plagued by management shakeups, unionization battles, layoffs and accusations of sexual harassment, the media group formerly known as Tribune Publishing has struggled in its efforts to adapt to a digital landscape.

Why it matters: An underwhelming year-end earnings report further sounded the alarm for Tronc investors earlier this month, causing the company to lose almost a quarter of its market value in a single trading session.

June 20, 2016: Tribune Publishing officially rebrands as Tronc, short for "Tribune online content," and begins trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol TRNC. The rebranding effort is met with near-universal ridicule, capped off by a press release that WashPost's Erik Wemple called "perhaps the most concentrated mess of buzzwords that digital publishing has ever seen."

Jan 18, 2018: Los Angeles Times employees vote to unionize on the same day it announced that publisher Ross Levinsohn will be taking unpaid leave. An NPR report found that Levinsohn's inappropriate behavior had created a toxic, "frat house" work environment, prompting Tronc to launch its own internal investigation.

  • A second NPR report found that Levinsohn, who has since been cleared of wrongdoing by Tronc and named CEO of Tribune Interactive, has a history of convincing employers to invest in his own projects — raising questions about where his true interests lie.

Feb. 7, 2018: Tronc agrees to sell the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune to the world's richest doctor, Patrick Soon-Shiong. When the deal officially closes, Tronc will become a significantly smaller company, not to mention notably further from chairman Michael Ferro's strategic goal of 100 million digital readers.

March 7, 2018: Beyond just disappointing figures, Tronc's earnings call is sullied by an overall lack of transparency about the company's direction. Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn, for example, makes the surprising decision not to provide a financial outlook for 2018. "In other words," writes Nieman Lab, "we haven’t yet figured out how Tronc will perform financially without the Times and San Diego Union-Tribune. Or alternatively: You wouldn’t like what we’d have to tell you."

March 15, 2018: The Chicago Tribune lays off an unknown number of employees for the second time in five months.

March 19, 2018: Tronc chairman Michael Ferro steps down from the board of directors after two years of leading the company. Later that day, two women accuse Ferro of inappropriate advances in an article published by Fortune.

Go deeper

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Assassination in Iran sets stage for tense final 50 days of Trump

The funeral ceremony in Tehran. Photo: Iranian Defense Ministry via Getty

Iranian leaders are weighing their response to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, known as the father of Iran’s military nuclear program, who was given a state funeral Monday in Tehran.

The big picture: Iran has accused Israel of carrying out Friday’s attack, but senior leaders have suggested that they’ll choose patience over an immediate escalation that could play into the hands of the Israelis and the outgoing Trump administration.

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